Grimm, Season 2, Episode 13, ”Face Off”
Written by: Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt
Directed by: Terrence O’Hara
Airs Friday 9.00pm EST on NBC
After a season break of almost four months, the resumption of Grimm had much to do in terms of tying up plot threads. Not surprising that Kouf and Greenwalt, two of the show’s three originators, wrote this episode because they are probably the only people on the planet who have a sure grasp of how the story so far fits together. Like the girl in the tale of Rumpelstiltskin who has to spin straw into gold, Kouf and Greenwalt had their work cut out, with various story strands to combine: a sought-after key, Juliette’s memory loss, her spell-induced passion for Renard, Renard’s involvement with the Hexenbeists and some kind of Europe-based uprising in the offing.
The bundle they come up with was untidy, but recognizable as whole cloth. Some of the finessing is clumsy: Renard’s hunt for the key first takes him to Nick’s trailer, which is the logical place for him to look, but it’s only after that search is unsuccessful that Renard suddenly remembers seeing Nick stash something in his drawer at work. This gives the sense of the writers inserting scenes to kill time and to give them a convenient opportunity to drag Hank, who almost catches Renard in the act, into the action. When characters don’t do the things which seem natural, but the things which suit the plot, the effect is forced and although every show has to resort to these strategies from time to time, Grimm is more prone to it than most. Another example this episode is Nick’s drawn-out inability to connect the dots and realize that Renard has a connection to the Wesen world. In this episode, Munro tells Nick that Renard is the one who woke Juliette from her Hexenbeist-induced coma and this is why the two of them have developed such a powerful attraction towards each other. This is the moment when logic screams that Renard must be Wesen, but Nick just accepts the news as if he’s hearing that Renard isn’t as big a Trailblazers fan as he thought.
But those were just occasional bum notes. The parts which worked, worked well, especially a short but key scene where one of Renard’s contacts in France mentions ‘the Resistance’, which draws an immediate line to Nick’s discovery that Hitler was a particularly nasty type of Wesen and sets us up for a clear good versus evil storyline, except this time with the baddies having much sharper teeth.
Renard’s eventual outing as Wesen royalty, although perhaps a little stretched out, was nicely handled. Nick gets the chance to punch Renard in the chops – a much-needed stress reliever – and by so doing makes it clear that even though we now know that Nick and Renard are on the same side, the whole Juliette-thing guarantees that the two of them are not going to suddenly develop a deep affection for each other. Also, doubts still linger about Renard. Sasha Roiz is good at portraying decadence – he has the profile for it – and he did succumb to his darker urges and bed Adelind Schade, so it’s possible he still has a few Tarot cards up his sleeve.
And Adelind’s final scene is the kicker, a lovely little plot twist which opens up a score of intriguing possibilities. Her seduction of Renard, after previously dancing a horizontal tango with his brother Eric, seemed at first like lazy writing along the lines of ‘she’s a whore – let’s make her grab at the crotch of every guy she meets’, but when the pink line appears in the little plastic wand, suddenly becomes a really impressive piece of game play. With moments like these, the Grimm writers deserve to be cut a little slack.
– Cath Murphy